SRA 76 Monthly Magazine
Cover Story, Christmas in the Lodge A Christmas Carol A Bible Charge Lodge Ayr St. Paul No. 204 Did You Know? Famous Freemason – Henry Scott Riddell The Whiteboys The Cable Tow Rays of Masonry Old Tiler Talks Guardian of the Gate Did You Know? The Tyler’s Toast The Emblems of Freemasonry Main Website – Inn at Year’s End
Volume 12 Issue 8 No. 98 December 2016
In this issue: Cover Story – pages 2 & 3 ‘Christmas in the Lodge’ and ‘A Masonic Parable.’ Two articles in keeping with our Christmas Theme. The first from 1925 and the second from 2015, for this edition of the Magazine. A very merry Christmas to all our readers, from SRA76.
Page 4, ‘The Bible Charge?’ Given at the Installation of a new Master. Page 6, ‘Lodge Ayr St. Paul No. 204.’ A History of one of our Old Scottish Lodges. Page 9, ‘Did You Know.’ Page 11, ‘Henry Scott Riddell.’ A Famous Freemason. Page 15, ‘The Whiteboys.’ Fraternal Societies throughout the World. Page 16, ‘The Cable Tow.’ An in-depth look at it’s meaning and usage. Page 19, ‘Rays of Masonry.’ “My Sacred Obligations” our Regular feature. Page 19, ‘The Old Tiler Talks.’ “Anonymous”, the Fifty-fifth in the series. Page 21, ‘Guardians of the Gate’ By a Strict Examination!. Page 23, ‘Did You Know.’ Page 24, The thoughts of Bro. Rabbi Raymond Apple. Page 26 ‘The Tyler’s Toast’ Remembering our Absent Brethren Page 29 ‘The Emblems of Freemasonry.’
In the Lectures website The article for this month is ‘Inn at Year’s End.’[link] 1
The front cover art is a stock Christmas Card.
Christmas in the Lodge The wise pundits who think they know a thing or two tell us that Christmas as a giftgiving festival, a season of merry making and good cheer, was invented by Washington Irving and Charles Dickens, the first conceiving the idea, the second, through the infectiousness of his stories, giving it currency. One is not to believe a word of this. Christmas is as old as the hills, it is as ancient as God. Like the stars that glitter above its frosty skies it has never had a beginning and can have no end. It had its origin in time when the first man felt a glow of gladness to see the sun turn in his tracks at mid-winter toward warmth again; toward spring, when the animals would awake in their dens, and green spread along the hills. But its true origin, lying outside of time, was in the heart of man himself, so that under one form or another it has always existed, and always will. It is a voice coming through the wintry darkness, like the quick golden cry of trumpets, to tell us that the gods of light are neither dead nor sleeping; it is an angel in the tomb announcing Easter days. Christmas has its permanent and prominent place in Masonry in the form of St. John’s Day, the observance of which by the Craft is of exceedingly ancient date. Long ago our brethren were wont to hold processions on that day, with an hour of worship at some beloved altar, and candles burning. And we, in our turn and with our own manner, do likewise, albeit ours is the lodge room altar, with observances and feasts among ourselves. St. John's Day is one of the best opportunities of the year for a wise
Worshipful Master when, more than at any other time, he can permit the hidden heart of Masonry to reveal itself. Why shouldn't he hold a Christmas festival among his brethren? He could mail out a personal invitation to each and every one' not forgetting those out of town, and include the wives and children. These could gather for an evening in the lodge room, decorated in Christmas fashion, for a feast and a program. There could be special letters and remembrances for the sick and the shut-ins and a few quiet acts of charity on the side. Upon such an occasion the lodge orators might be persuaded to remain silent to give the children a chance who have ways for warming the cockles of one's heart, though they may stutter and forget their pieces. Soloists also might be left out so that everybody could join in the music, old songs and Christmas glees. Santa Claus could show up at the last; and before “Auld Lang Syne” is sung there could be a prayer by way of remembrance for those gone to the Grand Lodge above. On such an occasion as that, with the vaudevillians and the paid entertainers at a safe distance, the brethren would learn anew that the tie of Masonry, though it is secret and mystic, is after all human and simple, like all the bonds that unite us men. Would not that be a beautiful Lodge Christmas? It would be a kind of translation into deeds and words of the sweetest Christmas poetry since the first Christmas story was written two thousand years ago: I heard the bells on Christmas Day Their old familiar carols play, And wild and sweet The words repeat Of peace on earth, good-will to men. Sourced from the 1925 Builder magazine
A Masonic Parable “Christmas time! That man must be a misanthrope indeed, in whose breast something like a jovial feeling is not roused— in whose mind some pleasant associations are not awakened— by the recurrence of Christmas.” Charles Dickens, Sketches by Boz What was to become the best loved Christmas story in the English language was penned by Charles Dickens in 1843 and published in London on December 19th of that year. Although classified as a novella, it is in reality a powerful morality play. As such it has been staged and filmed countless times. The quintessential filmed version starred Alistair Sim as Ebenezer Scrooge (1951). At the outset, Scrooge is portrayed as a cold-hearted, self-centred shrewd and demanding money-lender that despises the frivolity of Christmas. “Bah, humbug!” He lives alone and is the surviving partner of the London firm of Marley and Scrooge. It is Christmas Eve. After grudgingly allowing his clerk, Tom Cratchit, the day off for Christmas, Scrooge returns home and retires to bed where he is visited by 3
several ‘spirits’ – Jacob Marley, his long dead partner, and the three Ghosts of Christmas (Ghost of Christmas Past, Ghost of Christmas Present, and Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come.) When Scrooge awakes on Christmas morning, he immediately repents and becomes a model of generosity and kindness. A new man, he enters cheerfully into the spirit of the day. Henceforth, “… it was always said of him that he knew how to keep Christmas well if any man alive possessed the knowledge.” Dickens portrays a penetrating exercise in self-examination for Scrooge which results in a transformation of his character from a miser who cares only about himself and the accumulation of wealth to a man who genuinely cares about others. Freemasonry enables us to see things in a new light, to see things from a new perspective through new eyes. As Freemasons trained to think in terms of allegories and symbols, A Christmas Carol resonates with Masonic correlations. Our three degrees in Craft Masonry, simplified as birth, life, and death, correspond to the three Ghosts of Christmas. As an initiatory Order, we also endeavour to transform ourselves by self-examination and ‘a well-regulated course of selfdiscipline.’ Like the transformed Scrooge, we endeavour to be happy ourselves and communicate that happiness to others. Although Charles Dickens was not a Freemason, I suggest that A Christmas Carol may be interpreted as an instructive Masonic Parable. It is a vivid portrayal of the transforming effect of initiation. Sourced from A Masonic Minute. December 2015
A BIBLE CHARGE TO THE NEW MASTER OF THE LODGE.
authorised version in the reign of King James the (6) sixth in the year of our Lord sixteen hundred and eleven (1611). The Holy Bible contains laws, it contains history, poetry, letters, morals, ethics philosophy, medicine and above all a progressive revelation of truth. Its authorship is no less varied, among its contributors were lawgivers and historians, poets, prophets, preachers, mystics, kings, collectors of internal revenue, tent-makers and fisherman.
RIGHT WORSHIPFUL MASTER, I present to you the volume of the Sacred Law, The Holy Bible, the first and greatest light of the 3 Great Lights in Freemasonry. We have come to think the Holy Bible as one book, because it is bound between two covers. It is not one book, it is a large library sometimes known as the divine library and rightly so. It is composed of 66 separate volumes. 39 of which comprise the Old Testament and 27 the new. It was over (1500) fifteen hundred years in the making and there was a period of over (400) four hundred years between the last book of the Old Testament and the first book of the New. Another 400 hundred years past when they were first translated into a common language by Saint Gerome and assembled into one collection known as the Latin Vulgate. Subsequently ten centuries passed when the first crude translation in to English appeared which resulted in the first
Diverse are its subject matter and its authorship, remote are its types ,figures, characters, myths, allegories, legends and unique styles of expression, yet the intelligent reader discerns running through it all an ever increasing purpose the progressive revelation of truth. As silver threads run through a darker fabric appearing here and there prominently through its surface so flashes of light rise from its pages revealing the mind and character of god and his unfailing love for mankind. Every thing that could be done has been done in the ages of intolerance to destroy this book. Men have been tortured, imprisoned and burnt at the stake for believing into and defending its teachings. Indeed legend has it, when Latimer and Ridley were burnt at the stake in front of old Baliol College Oxford for believing into and defending its teachings, Latimer cried to Ridley when the flames licked around his feet. Fear not Ridley, for this day our blood will light a torch that will never go out and so it is there in the Holy Bible an ever yielding spirit of survival. 4
A spirit of power not of man but of god. As so today the American and British Bible societies put into circulation over fifteen million copies in over five hundred languages and dialects throughout the world.
Lodge Ayr St. Paul No. 204
The pages of the Holy Bible have been moistened these hundreds of years by the tears of joy and the tears of sorrow. They have thumbed and soiled by Princes in their palaces and prisoners in there cells. Monarchs and peasants, strong men and penitent sinners have all found the Holy Bible a great source of strength and consolation and of courage and of hope. Indeed when the great bard Sir Walter Scott lay on his death bed, he called to his son in law Lockhart, â€œbring me the book.â€? Which book Lockhart enquired? There is only one book Sir Walter replied, and the great bard passed away with his hands on the Bible. In presenting you with this Holy Bible your Lodge bids you to read it frequently, not with your eyes alone but with your heart devotionally. And as you increase in knowledge of it, it will become a great source of knowledge and instruction in your efforts to become a better man and indeed to become a better mason. It is in the nature of this mortal world that other lights will fail you, right worshipful master this light will never fail you. And as you increase in knowledge of it, it will prove a lamp unto your feet and a light unto your future path. The Editor heard this charge given at the Installation of the Master at Lodge Fisherow No. 112 by IPM Craig Gordon Dalhousie Bonnyrigg 720, to whom our thanks go.
Over two hundred years have elapsed since a number of Freemasons serving with the Ayr and Renfrew Militia obtained the necessary authority to form a Lodge within the Regiment, this Lodge was to be known as Ayr and Renfrew Militia St Paul No 271, this Lodge is now better known to us today as Ayr St Paul No 204. The founding members of the Lodge were serving in the Ayr and Renfrew Militia and due to the troubles prevailing in Europe, and those closer to home, this Regiment found itself more or less on permanent duty. This of course involved frequent moves around the country and due to this the Freemasons within the Regiment found it almost impossible to form ties with any resident Lodges near where they were stationed. They therefore determined to petition the Grand Lodge of Scotland for a Charter to allow them to hold a Lodge within the Regiment. The Regiment was at this time stationed at Linlithgow, and one of the petitioners went to Edinburgh to plead the petition in person. Grand Lodge granted
the petition and a Letter of Constitution was issued dated 4th February 1799, under which the Brethren worked for almost a year. The first meeting of the Lodge took place at Linlithgow on 6th February 1799 where two brethren (James Brown and Robert Dick), who had previously received the 1st degree at St James Newton-upon-Ayr No 165, now No 125 and Brazen Lodge No 19, now Ancient Brazen No 17 were instructed in the 2nd and 3rd degrees. In the early part of the following year, the Charter was unceremoniously carried from Edinburgh to Stirling, where the Regiment had been deployed, in a soldier's (John Laughlan) knapsack, neatly folded to fit into the same. The creases made in the Charter when it was in the knapsack can still be seen today. The Charter bears the same date as the Letter of Constitution, 4th February 1799, and is still in the possession of the Lodge and is on display at all our regular meetings in front of the Master's dais. A meeting was held in the Guild Hall, Stirling on 13th February 1800 at which the Right Worshipful Master, Wardens and Brethren of Lodges Ancient Lodge Stirling No 31 (now No 30) and Royal Arch Lodge No 93 (now No 76) were present. The purpose of this meeting was to consecrate Lodge Ayr & Renfrew Militia No 271 according to masonic custom, and which according to the minute, was carried out with "every solemnity agreeable to Masonry" From Stirling the Regiment moved to Fort George, and from there to Inverness and back to Stirling and then onto Glasgow and
finally to Ayr in 1802, where, due to the signing of the Treaty of Amiens, the Regiment was disbanded. Over the next three decades the Lodge partook in several notable public events, they took part in the laying of the foundation stone of the County Buildings and Jail on 23rd April 1818, donating towards the Burns' Monument and taking part in the laying of the foundation stone for the same on 25th January 1820. The Lodge was at the planting of the Tripod on Burns' Monument on 4th January 1823 and assisted in the laying of the foundation stone of the Ayr Town Hall and Steeple on 28th March 1828. The Lodge also took part in the laying of the foundation stone of the Hall adjacent to Burns' Cottage on 25th January 1847. On 6th February 1849, the Lodge celebrated its Jubilee. The Lodge at this time, held its meetings in the Vulcan Tavern and the celebration took the form of a supper at which thirty members, including two of the founders attended. During the next thirty years nothing of much importance happened with the Lodge. Deputations were sent out to assist with the laying of foundation stones at Victoria Bridge, Glasgow on 9th April 1851, the Grand Lodge of Scotland on 24th June 1858 and the Kyle Union Poorhouse 11th October 1858. In 1854 Bro D Murray Lyon joined the Lodge - a name that many Masons in Scotland and further afield will be familiar with, and who in 1877 was appointed as Grand Secretary, a position he was to hold for twenty-three years. 6
In 1873 a set of Lodge jewels were purchased and these jewels are, I believe, still in use by the office bearers of the Lodge today. In 1894 the Lodge agreed to purchase a vacant plot of ground from the Town Council, situated in Nile Court, just off the High Street as a suitable site to erect a Masonic Hall and in the following year operations got underway. On 7th February 1896, Bro Sir Charles Dalrymple, Bart., of Newhailes, the Most Worshipful Grand Master Mason of Scotland and other members of Grand Lodge and assisted by the Office-bearers of the Lodge laid the Memorial stone of the New Lodge Room. On 13th November 1896, a special meeting of the Lodge took place, when the Right Worshipful Provincial Grand Master, Bro Hugh R. Wallace of Cloncaird and Busbie, helped by Provincial Grand Office-bearers consecrated the New Lodge Room according to Masonic tradition. On 7th February 1899 a supper was given to celebrate 100 years of the Lodge's existence, at which over 140 brethren were present. In the same year two men were initiated into the Lodge, their names will be instantly recognised by anyone who has indulged in a wee dram or two in the town, they were Matthew Dickie and William Bridges both Spirit Merchants, and pubs in the town still bear their names today. The early part of the 1900's the lodge was very busy, some years holding as many as sixty-one meetings and having what appears to be an endless supply of 7
candidates, varying from as few as 32 to as many as 146 in a year! They continued with their church parades, visits, social functions, lodge benevolence and when required gave their services at masonic funerals in the town. Ayr St Paul also sponsored the forming of lodge Prestwick 1060 in 1909 and established a friendship that continues to date. When the Great War commenced in 1914 many brethren were enlisted into the armed services, those that made the ultimate sacrifice are remembered on a memorial stone donated to the Lodge by Bro Col L G Pearson and Bro T W McIntyre in 1921. A Roll of Honour was also produced at that time to honour all those from the lodge who had given service during the War. Surprisingly there is little or no mention of the war in the minutes, the only thing of note was that a circular was received instructing Lodges that members of "foreign or enemy nationality should not be admitted into the meetings, unless dispensation had been obtained" and the end of the war being noted by the brethren being stood to attention and singing the National Anthem The memorial stone was in the lodge room at Nile Court, I am unaware if it was removed when we vacated the premises but a photograph of it can be found here. The Roll of Honour can be seen at Fusilier House in Seaforth Road where it is now on display. February 1926 saw the initiation into the lodge of James Hamilton, a man that was to become highly respected and well known in every Order of Freemasonry throughout Ayrshire and was afforded the title of "Faither of the Lodge" in his later
years. He was also honoured by the Grand Lodge of Scotland with the honorary rank of Grand Marshall and the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire with the honorary rank of Provincial Grand Senior Warden. The Lodge continued to meet on a regular basis and with the onset of the Second World War the brethren resolved to continue their meetings as normal, although they did decide to change the meeting hour to 7pm "for the duration of the current wartime emergency". The Hall and Basement were also requisitioned for use by the MOD, the Air Observer Corps using the building for the duration of the war. We continued with social functions and fund raising events, the proceeds going to various funds, Benevolence continued to play an important part of the Lodge's agenda and many grants were made to widows and dependents. The Lodge also gifted to Brethren who were serving with HM Forces the sum of 10 shillings, the equivalent of 50 pence in decimal currency, as a Christmas gift. In February 1940, the death of Bro William English, Petty Officer, on active service with the Royal Navy is recorded in the minutes, it was also noted that he was one of the youngest Master Masons of the Lodge, and the first from this Lodge to be killed in this conflict. The only other being Bro R M Neil, Flight Lt, RAF, their names being recorded on a Memorial Stone in the old Lodge room.
August the same year marking the end of hostilities. The lodge celebrated the 150th anniversary of its founding in 1949 at which the Grand Master and dignitaries from the Provincial Grand Lodge were present. The ceremony of re-dedication was carried out in the most solemn manner and the brethren afterwards retired to harmony. The following year a gentleman by the name of Thomas Main was initiated into the Lodge - he has continued to serve the Lodge for many years, just recently being presented with a diploma to mark his 60th year of membership of the lodge. He has also been honored with grand rank in both the Provincial Grand Lodge of Ayrshire and the Grand Lodge of Scotland and at the ripe age of 87 still continues to take part in the the activities of the lodge. He is currently the oldest attending Past Master of the Lodge. He was the reigning Master on the occasion of the 175th anniversary, which was celebrated with a dinner in the Market Inn. Lodge Ayr St. Paul No. 204 has a website which the reader can visit to learn more of this old Lodge and its meeting dates. This can be viewed at, this link http://www.ayr204.com/index.html Our thanks go to the Lodge No.204 whom the editor and the newsletter acknowledge to be the copyright owners. It is especially pleasing as Lodge SRA76 is mentioned as having a role in its consecration.
The Lodge held a Divine and Thanksgiving Service on May 13th 1945 to commemorate Victory in Europe and a Thanksgiving Service for Victory in 8
Did You Know? Q. When did Deacons become `FloorOfficers' in the Lodge, discharging their present-day duties?
A. The principal duty associated with the office of Deacon nowadays, i.e., the conducting of Candidates during the ceremonies, was originally discharged by the Wardens of the Lodge. In the first welldetailed description of the ceremonies, Prichard's Masonry Dissected, 1730, it is evident that the J.W. received the Candidate (as the I.G. does today) and, after some kind of perambulation, the Cand. was handed over to the S.W., who `presented' him and showed him how to advance towards the Master by three steps. This work was an exposure and there is no proof that the procedure described in it was correct, but it finds support in later documents of the same class. Le Secret des Francs-Masons, of 1742, gives a useful description of the `floorwork' in the admission ceremony of that period, and in this text, after the report, the W.M. orders the Cand. to be admitted`... and the Wardens [Surveillants] place themselves on either side of him to conduct him'. Another French exposure, L'Ordre des Francs-Masons Trahi, 1745, gives interesting details of the Wardens' duties in the M.M. degree. `One man alone keeps guard inside the door of the Lodge, with a drawn sword in each hand'. After the report, etc., the Second Warden (i.e., the J.W.) goes to the Guard, takes one sword 9
from him and admits the Cand., with the sword pointing to his L.B. After three perambulations at sword-point, the Cand. is placed facing the W.M. and flanked by the Wardens. The J.W. strikes `... three times three on the shoulder of the First Warden [the S.W.], passing his hand behind the Candidate ...', and the ceremony proceeds. Several of the later English exposures of the 1760s show that the Wardens were discharging the duties which we associate nowadays with the Deacons, and under the first Grand Lodge, the Moderns, the office of Deacon was extremely rare, though not altogether unknown. The 1743 minutes of the Royal Oak Lodge, Chester, record the election of a Master's Deacon and a Warden's Deacon, and they were regularly appointed until 1758, when they were superseded by Senior and Junior Stewards. (Misc. Lat., vol. 23, p. 114.) Deacons were known in Bristol in 1758 and were appointed for the first time in the Lodge of Probity, Halifax, now No. 61, on 24 June 1763. Deacons were recorded at Darlington, No. 263, and at Barnard Castle, No. 406, in 1772, both Moderns' Lodges. (Ibid.) Two Deacons were also mentioned in the minutes of the Lodge of Antiquity in December, 1778. Bro. Waples, of Sunderland, has sent a note quoting the By-Laws of the Marquis of Granby Lodge, No. 124, in 1775, where it was ordered that two E.A.s be appointed annually. The senior, seated in the N.E., was to carry `messuages' from the Master to the S.W. The junior was to stand inside the door, to welcome strange Brethren and `to carry messuages from the Right Worshipful to the Tyler'. There is no mention of their performing any Deacon's
duties in the course of the ceremonies, but probably, in 1775, they did.
Antients, in 1754, and their appointment was a regular feature of Antient practice.
The appointment of Stewards was fairly common, and there is reason to believe that it was customary for them to discharge the duties of the modern Deacons. A further note from Bro. Waples mentions that, at the Swalwell Lodge, Durham, in 1734, the Officers included S.W., J.W., and also `Senior Deacon (or Steward), Junior Deacon (or Steward)', and two Deacons were appointed in 1732, but, he says, there was no further mention of Deacons in their records until 1818.
On 13 December 1809, the Lodge of Promulgation, in preparation for the Union of the rival Grand Lodges, resolved `... that Deacons (being proved on due investigation to be not only Ancient but useful and necessary Officers) be recommended'. This was only one of several measures for standardization that were taken at that time, and a nice example of the effect of this new regulation on the Moderns' lodges appears in the minutes of the Old Dundee Lodge, No. 18, dated 8 February 1810: `The Master reported that 2 New Officers are necessary to carry the new alterations into effect, and they are to be named "Deacons" and the R.W. Master then appointed . . .' a S.D. and a J.D., and he then ordered jewels for them in the old design, i.e., Mercury, the messenger of the gods, not the modern `Dove and olive branch'.
There appears to be no trace of any early eighteenth century appointments of Deacons as floor officers in Scotland. There, it was customary to appoint Stewards, usually two or more, and occasional references to Stewards' wands suggest that their duties were not confined to refreshment. The early references to the appointment of Deacons in the modern sense seem to come most consistently from Ireland. They are named in the famous St. John's Day procession at Youghal in January, 1743-4. They appear in the 1744 minutes of the Lodge of Lurgan, and in Dassigny's funeral processional in the following year.
The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Dermott, the Grand Secretary of the Antients, stated that he had served the offices of J.D. and S.D. (as well as the Wardens' offices) prior to his Installation as Master of No. 26 in Ireland in 1746, and it was probably from Ireland that the Antients' Grand Lodge adopted the practice of appointing Deacons. They are mentioned in the Antients' minutes in July, 1753, and in the records of Lodge No. 37, 10
Famous Freemasons Henry Scott Riddell Poet and Freemason ‘Scotland Yet’
Henry Scott Riddell the son of a shepherd was born at Sorbie in Dumfriesshire on the 23rd September 1798. At the age of two, the family moved to Langshawburn in a remote part of Eskdalemuir where his father farmed for several years. It was here during his early years that he met James Hogg, the Ettrick Shepherd. Hogg was 26 years older than Henry and the impression he made on the young boy was electric and never diminished throughout his entire life. Hogg would recite his poems to the young lad, and although unable to read, Henry could repeat many of Hogg’s poems from beginning to end. Riddell said of this period in his life; “……. one whom I have good reason to remember -- the Ettrick Shepherd…… This was about the time when Hogg began to 11
write, or at least to publish: as I can remember from the circumstance of my being able to repeat the most part of the pieces in his first publication by hearing them read by others before I could read them myself.” Riddell and Hogg’s friendship became very close as the former reached his adult years, Hogg called him, “his assistant and successor,” and considered himself to be Henry Scott Riddell’s mentor and confidant, such as Sir Walter Scott was his. When the Ettrick Shepherd died, Riddell composed ‘The Bard’s Elegy’ to his memory, little knowing that words from it would later be inscribed on a monumental plaque above the entrance door at his Teviotdale cottage. “Yet sleep, gentle bard, for though silent for ever The harp in the hall of the chieftain is hung, No time from the mem’ry of mankind shall sever The tales that it told and the strains that it sung.” Henry Scott Riddell’s education was haphazard during the formative years of his childhood, as during the summer months his employment was that of an apprentice shepherd. Sometimes in the winters he would attend school, occasionally as a boarder, but when the distance to a school was too great his father would hire a person to come to the house to give schooling to the family. The lessons amounted to reading, writing and arithmetic in which he would admit himself was no better or worse than any others, indeed he states that he ‘loved the football better than the spelling-book.’
When he had acquired what was considered to be a ‘sufficient education,’ for a person of his station, and although still only a boy, it became time to leave his parents and set out on his own. He began employment at Glencotha in Pebbleshire as an assistant shepherd, where he remained for a year, and during this time he began to show an aspiration to compose verses, and the realisation of the need of a better education began to cultivate in his mind. On the death of his father in 1817, with the little money he had saved along with that left to him by his father, Henry Scott Riddell determined to accomplish a regular education, in order to qualify him for entering University, attended the parish school at Biggar Lanarkshire, and whilst at that school, Riddell was a contributor to the ‘Clydesdale Magazine,’ It was during this period at Biggar, he met Eliza Clark the daughter of a Biggar merchant, and as Dr. James Brydon wrote of the union, “A fresh life was breathed into his poetic being. Love lifted his strains to a higher level than they had yet attained, and such exquisite lays as the ‘Crook and Plaid’ and ‘The Wild Glen sae green’ were the immediate outcome,” Eliza would later become his wife. I winna lo’e the laddie that ca’s the cart and pleugh, Though he should own that tender love that’s only felt by few, For he that has this bosom a’ to fondest love betrayed, Is faithfu’ shepherd laddie that wears the crook and plaid; For he’s aye true to his lassie – he’s aye true to his lassie, Who wears the crook and plaid.
On the completion of his schooling at Biggar, Riddell entered student life at Edinburgh University, where his college course lasted until 1830, which included a final year at St. Andrews. He attended classes faithfully, studied hard, continued to write poetry and was befriended by Professor Wilson, who considered him to be a poet in the order of Hogg and in 1825 published one of his songs, ‘When the glen all is still,’ in Noctes Ambrosiana. Professor John Wilson was the celebrated Christopher North. Riddell visited the Professor frequently at his house, where he was introduced to some of the society of Edinburgh, and it was during these years attending the University he was introduced into Freemasonry. Henry Scott Riddell is silent in his memoirs about his introduction into Freemasonry, but his progression into the order is not surprising given the city in which he lived and the circle of friends he made during his stay in Edinburgh, and so, on the 3rd of December 1827, Riddell was initiated into Lodge St. David No.36. In 1830 he finished his University course and became a licentiate of the Church of Scotland, and the following year he was elected the chaplain of Lodge St. David, a position he fulfilled until 1836 and published his first collection, called, ‘Songs of the Ark and other poems,’ In the year 1831, Riddell moved in with his brother at Teviothead, Roxburghshire, and it was during this period that Henry Scott Riddell wrote his most famous song, ‘Scotland Yet.’ He would later relay to Dr. Brydon this account on how he came to write it, ‘It was beautiful morning after a wild tempestuous night. The winds were stilled, the deep azure sky was cloudless, 12
the flooded burns were glancing to the sun, everything looked fresh and beautiful, all nature seemed to rejoice. The poet’s heart glowed within him with exultation and patriotic guide.’
had ventured to make my own, by way of marriage, her who had in heart been mine through all my college years, and who for my sake had, in the course of these, rejected wealth and high standing in life.”
Gae bring my guid auld harp ance mair, Gae bring it free and fast, For I maun sing anither sang, Ere a’ my glee be past; And trow ye as I sing my lads, The burden o’t shall be, Auld Scotland's howes and Scotland's knowes, And Scotland's hills for me! I'll drink a cup to Scotland yet, Wi a' the honours three!
The year was 1833, and he entered into his duties as minister at Teviothead with his wife beside him with a passion and enthusiasm for his life and position. He must have still travelled on occasion to Edinburgh on business and to meet with old friends, for in 1838 he was elected as Bard of Lodge St. David, a position he held until 1840, when Henry would succumb to an attack of the mind which would see him being admitted into the Crighton Royal Asylum for the insane at Dumfries!
Not long after moving to Teviothead he became the successor to the minister who had died. When he was appointed as the preacher for the parish there was no house provided with the post, and was unable to find any suitable accommodation nearer than the town of Hawick, which was nine miles away. Frequently Henry would walk this distance to attend to his church during storms, and on one occasion he conducted the service with water pouring off him onto the Bible, and running over his shoes and forming a puddle on the pulpit floor. After the service, Henry would have to walk the same distance home again! The Duke of Buccleuch paid the stipend of the ministers of Teviothead, and as Henry had decided to wed, the Duke commissioned a house a Teviothead to be built, the house he would live in for the rest of his life. Henry Scott Riddell married Eliza, the girl he had met fourteen years previous in Biggar, with whom he would have two sons, he said himself of this union; “In the hope of soon obtaining a permanent and comfortable settlement at Teviothead, I 13
In 1841, after many years of tending to the needs of his parishioners, Henry Scott Riddell was the victim of an unfounded and malicious report that had been circulated which caused him so much distress and anguish that his mind became deranged and he suffered from delusions and became terror-stricken. During his time in the asylum, Henry became isolated and withdrew into his own world and for a long time he was filled with depression and despair. He told the physician treating him during this period of ‘two parallel currents of thought which seemed to run constancy through his mind, one of despondency, the other of bright imaginings, which shaped themselves into couplets or verses.’ Brydon says that he still continued to compose during this period in the institution, one of which has this mournful and poignant beginning, ‘The harp so loved awakes no more”
Eventually, Henry Scott Riddell recovered, and in 1844 returned to Teviothead, but he never returned to his charge as minister at Caerlanrig church. With the kindness of the Duke of Buccleuch, he was permitted to remain at the cottage built for him rent free for life and was granted an income almost equivalent to that which he previously earned as minister. For the rest of his days, Henry Scott Riddell lived a quiet life, and became somewhat of a recluse; he wrote his biography in 1854 and rarely ventured far from his adored border countryside. It was probably around this time that he affiliated to the Hawick Lodge, No.111 a Lodge in which he would become the Bard, an office he took great delight in and visited the Lodge on numerous occasions until his death. He would give lectures on behalf on some charitable body, interested himself in local archaeological excavations, supported the Hawick Archæological Society, and in 1859 was publicly presented at Hawick with an Irish Harp, an instrument which he loved to play. He translated into lowland Scotch, in 1855 and 1857 respectively, St. Matthew and the Psalms of David, the latter for Prince Lucien Bonaparte. And still his creative pen continued to poor forth muses of an extraordinary beauty, of the Border Hills, the glens and streams which gave him his inspiration. On the 30th of July 1870, Henry Scott Riddell died after a short illness, and three days after surrounded by family, friends and admirers from near and far, the Bard of Teviotdale was laid to rest in; ‘Yon churchyard that lonely is lying Beneath the deep greenwood by Teviot’s wild strand.’
In 1871 the year after Riddell’s death, Dr. James Brydon of Hawick produced two volumes entitled, ‘’The Poetical Works of Henry Scott Riddell,’ and describes him thus; “All I ever saw of him called for admiration. He was a noble, a good, and a lovable man, devoid of arrogance, living in humility, at peace with all God’s creatures, and ever striving to act up to the teachings of the golden rule. He was a most agreeable companion, and gifted conversationalist. He was a genius and a poet.” Three years after his death in 1874 on a hillside some nine miles south of Hawick on the A7 overlooking Teviothead church, a 13m high cairn known locally as the Colterscleuch Monument was erected to the memory of Henry Scott Riddell, and here the brethren of the mystic tie have gathered in tribute to him ever since. For well over 100 hundred years, brethren of Lodge St. David No.36, Edinburgh and the Hawick Lodge No.111 have assembled each year close to the anniversary of his death to pay homage to this remarkable border poet and freemason. After a service in Riddell’s church and the laying of a wreath on his grave, the brethren take the gentle climb to the cairn, and surrounded by the soft rolling hills of the Border countryside, an oration is given about his life, poems are recited, ‘”Scotland Yet” sung and a toast drunk to the author of Scotland Yet, the bard of Teviotdale and Freemason, Brother Henry Scott Riddell. Sources; Hawick Archaelogical Society – proceedings 1898. The Poetical Works of Henry Scott Riddell – James Brydon MD. 1871 The History of Hawick Lodge 111 – PM A. Burgon. 1994 This Biography of Henry Scott Riddell was written by the Editor and first appeared in the Christmas Edition of the Ashlar Magazine. Issue 51 – 2013.
Fraternal Societies Of the World The Whiteboys
The Whiteboys sought to address rackrents, tithe collection, excessive priests' dues, evictions, and other oppressive acts by landowners. Landlords and tithe collectors were their primary targets. The ‘boys ran a slick operation, priding themselves on extensive forward-planning and regular assemblies. Absolute loyalty was mandatory, and the Whiteboys were the first organization to invest the custom of swearing oaths with tremendous practical and symbolic importance. Whiteboy activism saw its first peak in County Limerick in 1761, quickly spreading to Tipperary, Cork, and Waterford. Initially activities focused only on specific grievances, and action was limited to leveling ditches that closed off common grazing land, and digging up ley lands and orchards.
The Whiteboys were a secret Irish agrarian organization in 18th-century Ireland which took vigilante action to defend tenants’ land rights to subsistence farming. The group earned the moniker ‘Whiteboys’ due to their custom of wearing white smocks during their nightly raids. Some Irish immigrants who settled in the rural United States carried their rebellious spirit with them across the Atlantic, as a result of which ‘Whiteboy’ became a generic term for ‘rebel’ outside the cities. Back in Ireland, the Whiteboys usually referred to at the time as Levellers by the authorities, and by themselves as "Queen Sive Oultagh's children", "fairies", “followers of Johanna Meskill" or "Sheila Meskill", all symbolic figures supposed to lead the movement. 15
As their numbers increased, so did the pace and severity of Whiteboy activity. Clandestine proclamations were posted under names like "Captain Moonlight", and the group sent threatening letters to debt collectors, landlords, and occupants of land gained from eviction, demanding that they give up their farms. In 1762 the Whiteboys marched to "disaffected and treasonable tunes" about the countryside, entering towns at night to fire guns and taunt garrisoned troops. The boys posted notices announcing activities, and demanding that the townspeople illuminate their houses and provide their horses, ready saddled, for their use. More militant activities often followed such processions, such as attacks on unlit houses, and the forced release of prisoners from jail.
On 2 April 1761 a force of 50 militia men and 40 soldiers under the Marquis of Drogheda set out for Tallow and arrested eleven Levellers. Other raids took 17 Whiteboys in County Limerick and by late April at least 150 Whiteboys had been arrested. Clogheen in County Tipperary bore the initial brunt of this assault as the local parish priest, Fr. Nicholas Sheehy, had earlier spoken out against tithes and collected funds for the defense of parishioners charged with rioting. An unknown numbers of "insurgents" were reported killed in the "pacification exercise" and Fr. Sheehy was unsuccessfully indicted for sedition several times before eventually being found guilty of a fabricated charge of murder, and hanged, drawn and quartered in Clonmel in March 1766. In the cities, suspected Whiteboy sympathizers were arrested and in Cork loyal citizens formed an association of about 2,000 strong which offered rewards for capture of the chief Whiteboys and often accompanied the military on their rampages. Though Whiteboy activism in Ireland was suppressed more effectively towards the end of the decade, their earlier activity served as a model for rebellion on an organizational scale never before seen in agrarian Ireland. Their use of the oath as a means of binding members, and their spirited objection to low wages and the conditions of the rural poor, saw their influence spread across the Atlantic, and their name adopted by rebellious group across the US. These societies which are featured in the newsletter do really exist; there are virtually hundreds of them throughout the World
The Cable Tow The word Cable-tow, we are told, is, purely Masonic in its meaning and use. It is so defined in the dictionary, but not always accurately, which shows that we ought not to depend upon the ordinary dictionary for the truth about Masonic terms. Masonry has its own vocabulary and uses it in its own way. Nor can our words always be defined for the benefit of the profane. Even in Masonic lore the word cable-tow varies in form and use. In an early pamphlet by Prichard, issued in 1730, and meant to be an exposure of Masonry, the cable-tow is called a "cable-rope"; and in another edition a "towline." The same word "tow-line" is used in a pamphlet called A Defence of Masonry, written, it is believed, by Anderson as a reply to Prichard about the same time. In neither pamphlet is the word used in exactly the form and sense in which it is used today; and in a note Prichard, wishing to make everything Masonic absurd, explains it as meaning "the roof of the mouth!" In English lodges, the cable-tow, like the hoodwink, is used only in the first degree, and has no symbolical meaning at all apparently. In our American lodges it is used in all three degrees, and has almost too many meanings. Some of our 75 American teachersâ€”Pike among themâ€” see no meaning in the cable-tow beyond its obvious use in leading an initiate into the Lodge, and the possible use of withdrawing him from it should he be unwilling or unworthy to advance. To some of us this non-symbolical idea and use of the cable-tow is very strange, in view of what Masonry is in general, and 16
particularly in its ceremonies of initiation. For Masonry is a chamber of imagery. The whole Lodge is a symbol. Every object, every act is symbolical. The whole fits together into a system of symbolism by which Masonry veils and yet reveals the truth it seeks to teach to such as have eyes to see and are ready to receive it. As far back as we can go in the history of initiation, we find the cable-tow, or something like it, used very much as it is used in a Masonic Lodge today. No matter what the origin and form of the word as we employ it maybe—whether from. the Hebrew "khabel," or the Dutch "cabel," both meaning a rope, the fact is the same. In India, in Egypt, in most of the Ancient Mysteries, a cord or cable was used in the same way and for the same purpose. Its meaning, so far as we can make it out, seems to have been some kind of a pledge—a vow in which a man pledged his life. Even outside initiatory rites we find it so employed, as, for example, in a striking scene recorded in the Bible (I Kings 20:31, 32), the description of which is almost Masonic. The king of Syria, Ben-hadad, had been defeated in battle by the king of Israel and his servants are making a plea for his life. They approach the king of Israel "with ropes upon their heads," and speak of his "brother, Ben-hadad." Why did they wear ropes, or nooses, on their heads? Evidently to symbolize a pledge of some sort, given in a Lodge or otherwise, between the two kings, of which they wished to remind the king of Israel. The king of Israel asked: "Is he yet alive? he is my brother?" Then we read that the servants of the Syrian king watched to, see if the king of Israel made any sign, and, catching his sign, they brought the captive king of Syria before him. Not only was the 17
life of the king of Syria spared, but a new pledge was made between the two men. The cable-tow, then, is the outward and visible symbol of a vow in which a man has pledged his life, or has pledged himself to save another life at the risk of his own. Its length and strength are measured by the ability of the man to fulfil his obligation and his sense of the moral sanctity of his obligation—a test, that is, both of his capacity and of his character. ! If a Lodge is a symbol of the world, and initiation is our birth into the world of Masonry, the cable-tow is not unlike the cord which unites a child to its mother at birth; and so it is usually interpreted. Just as the physical cord, when cut, is replaced by a tie of love and obligation between mother and child, so, in one of the most impressive moments of initiation, the cable-tow is removed, because the brother, by his oath at the Altar of Obligation, is bound by a tie stronger than any physical cable. What before was an outward physical restraint has become an inward moral constraint. That is to say, force is replaced by love—outer authority by inner obligation—and that is the secret of security and the only basis of brotherhood. The cable-tow is the sign of the pledge of the life of a man. As in his oath he agrees to forfeit his life if his vow is violated, so, positively, he pledges his life to the service of the Craft. He agrees to go to the aid of a Brother, using all the power in his behalf, how strange that any one should fail to see symbolical meaning in the cable-tow! It is, indeed, the great symbol of the mystic tie which Masonry spins and weaves between men, making them Brothers and helpers one of another. But, let us remember that a Cable-tow has two ends. If it binds a Mason to the
Fraternity, by the same fact it binds the Fraternity to each man in it. The one obligation needs to be emphasized as much as the other. Happily, in our day we are beginning to see the other side of the obligation that the Fraternity is under vows to its members to guide, instruct, and train them for the effective service of the Craft and of humanity. Control, obedience, direction or guidance these are the three meanings of the cable-tow, as it is interpreted by the best insight of the Craft. Of course, by Control we do not mean that Masonry commands us in the sense that it uses force. Not at all. Masonry rules men as beauty rules an artist, as love rules a lover. It does not drive; it draws. It controls us, shapes us, through its human touch and its moral nobility. By the same method, by the same power it wins obedience and gives guidance and direction to our lives. At the Altar we take vows to follow and obey its high principles and ideals; and Masonic vows are not empty obligations— they are vows in which, a man pledges his life and his sacred honour. The old writers define the length of a cable-tow, which they sometimes call a "cable's length," variously. Some say it is seven hundred and twenty feet, or twice the measure of a circle. Others say that the length of the cable-tow is three miles. But such figures are merely symbolical, since in one man it may be three miles and in another it may as easily be three thousand miles—or to the end of the earth. For each Mason the cable-tow reaches as far as his moral principles go and his material conditions will allow. Of that distance each must be his own judge, and indeed each does pass judgment upon himself accordingly, by his own acts in aid of others.
Recently a man of science said that if the earth were held in its orbit by iron bars, they would have to be close together, not more than a foot apart, covering the entire surface. If, he said, these bars were twisted together into one gigantic cable, he doubted if it would be as strong as the invisible bond, or cable, by which the earth is held to its vast orbit. It was a striking way of teaching us that the cables that reach the longest and hold the strongest are invisible, and formed of forces with which men do not reckon, just because they are noiseless and unseen. Just so, when the cable-tow of each Mason is joined with that of every other Mason, and all are united in one Cable of Kindness, it makes a bond of brotherhood the might of which no mortal can measure. It helps to hold. the world together. It holds when other ties break, as it did in the Civil War in America. It is one of the holiest assets of humanity—a far-stretching Tie, mystical and unseen, yet more unbreakable than bands of steel, in which the obligation and loyalty and love of each of us is a strand. There is an unseen cord that binds The whole wide world together; Through every human life it winds, This one mysterious tether. There are no separate lives; the chain Too subtle for our seeing, Unites us all upon the plane of universal being.
Such is the Divine cable-tow by which the world is held in its moral orbit. To discover that cord running through our own lives— your life and mine—uniting us with all the seekers after truth, all lovers of right, all servants of God and man, is the mission and blessing of Masonry. What is the length of our cable-tow? Who knows how far it reaches? Sourced from Grand Lodge of British Columbia and Yukon Website and written by Joseph Fort Newton
Rays of Masonry â€œMY SACRED OBLIGATIONSâ€? It is the quiet of night, a time when Day's Door closes to the tumult of the world, and darkness opens the portals of our spiritual nature. Here in comfort I rest in a clean bed. The good health of my loved ones brings a feeling of satisfaction and gratitude. I cannot feel that I deserve the good fortune that is mine, the joy of home, privilege of health, the love of wife, the blessing of children, the confidence of friends. But in that reverential peace and quiet calm I resolve to do more for others, to think more of giving and less of getting, to put all those good thoughts of mine into action, to translate those intentions into deeds, to be in unity with my brother by dwelling with him, to know him better. Let me see. Did I go by and see Brother John yesterday? Brother John is old and feeble. He is no longer able to attend lodge. He has always loved Masonry. I could have brought a bit of Masonic cheer to him; I could have made him happier by letting him know the Masons remember. I reflect now that it would have cost only a small inconvenience, only a little time. What single thing I accomplished yesterday was worth more than would have been a visit to Brother John? Recently a brother passed away. Did I attend his funeral? I failed to go. I saw the notice of the Masonic meeting in the paper. Yes, as I rest comfortably and enjoy the good things of life, I remember too well. I remember the things I should have done and failed to do- *My Unfulfilled Obligations*. - Dewey Wollstein 1953 19
ANONYMOUS It's a wonderful idea! I'm strong for it, strong!" cried the New Brother to the Old Tiler in the anteroom. The nicest thing happened in lodge tonight," began the New Brother enthusiastically to the Old Tiler in the anteroom. "I don't know when I have been more touched." "Tell me about it," suggested the Old Tiler. "Brother Wells said he had received an anonymous letter from some brother of the lodge inclosing a $5.00 bill, which was to go towards buying a birthday present for Brother Wells' boy. He told us about his boy being injured in an automobile accident and how he has struggled with the doctor's bills. He said he had bought the boy some books with it; and that it would be the biggest part of the lad's birthday.
When he thanked the unknown brother, I would have cried, if I wasn’t a pantswearer." ''Why did the unknown brother send his gift anonymously?'' inquired the Old Tiler. "Oh, didn't I tell you? That was the prettiest part of it. The letter said the present wasn’t from any one in particular, just from the ‘Masonic spirit’ and came because the ‘agent’ – that’s what the anonymous brother called himself - he benefited from instructions received from Brother Wells. Wells is always instructing someone, so he can't tell which of dozens of men sent it." "That was a nice thing to do," agreed the Old Tiler. "Brother Peters' work bearing more fruit." "Peters? Peters? I don't think I know him. . . " the New Brother considered thoughtfully. "He's dead ten years," explained the Old Tiler. "You never saw him in lodge, but he started the idea. He made a talk once in lodge about lodges not being Christian or Jewish or Mohammedan, just Masonic. He didn't see why Masons shouldn't observe the lovely things in any religion. He didn't want to inject religion into the lodge, he would like to see brethren take part in the generosity taught in all religions. "Brother Peters had a comfortable income; could afford it. But it cost him some effort. And gradually we found out about it by comparing notes and asking questions. Brother Peters had made himself the lodge benefactor. He learned which brethren were poor and had children, and he sent them all birthday gifts. He always had a list
of the sick, and they all had flowers and visits. If a widow didn't have much she got a ton of coal or a cord of wood, or some man appeared and told her he had been hired by the Masonic Society to clean off her snow. But no one knew, until his talk started us to investigating, that he was the individual who had made this lodge a Giver with a capital G. He'd draw a square and compasses on the package, or just a letter G, beside the address. He had a lot of fun out of it. When he died, he had the biggest funeral this town ever saw. "The anonymous five dollar bill must have come from Brother Peters - someone else was indeed the agent, but it was Brother Peters' idea here. Of course it wasn't his originally. "It's a pretty idea, too – using Masonry to make someone happy. Some brother who doesn't expect a visit from you – you go and see him on his birthday, just to let him know you are thinking of him; think of the joy he'd have. Half a dozen boxes of flowers sent to as many hospitals marked for birthdays would give sick people a lot of pleasure. A few small greenbacks, sent like Brother Wells received his, without a name, but with a letter; can you imagine anything more joyful? "There is no taint of alms about a birthday gift – the proudest of the poor might be happy to be so remembered. I recall one old lady who got money from someone in this lodge once - there was nothing in the envelope except the ten spot and the card saying ‘Birthdays should be merry; the lodge hopes yours will be.' I knew her - she insisted I find out who did it, so she could thank him. Of course I couldn't. But I have always thought that whoever he was and is, he and Brother Peters found out more 20
about how to have a good time than most of us know." "There isn't any patent on the idea, is there?" demanded the New Brother. "I can do that if I want to, can't I?" Of Course you can,'' responded the Old Tiler. "Will you find out and tell me where to send them?'' "I will not. If I did the work, you wouldn't have the fun. Besides, I supervise no brother’s gifts. The Master will tell you." "You said it wasn't Brother Peters’ idea originally. Whose idea was it, in the very beginning?" "Someone who said, 'Inasmuch as ye do it unto the least of these, my brethren . . . ' " "Oh!" said the New Mason. And again, "Oh!" This is the Fifty-fifth article in this regular feature, ‘The Old Tiler Talks,’ each month we publish in the newsletter one of these interesting and informative pieces by Carl Claudy
“Affliction's sons are brothers in distress; A brother to relieve, how exquisite the bliss!” Bro. Robert Burns 21
Guardian of the Gates Any Master Mason speedily discovers that his Masonry is not all "Getting." It is also a matter of "Giving." A good Mason must serve, as well as be served. When Masonry is well served by her brethren, she grows, thrives and prospers. When she is ill served a lodge starves, thins out in quality, gets stagnant and sometimes dies. When your application was received by the lodge, the Master appointed a committee of three brethren, whose duty it was to investigate the truth of the statements you made, to find out what manner of man you are and recommend to the lodge what action it should take. Following their report, a ballot was taken on your application. You were a good man; your committee reported in favour of your application and you were elected. You may not have known of their investigation. In small towns it is not always necessary to see the applicant directly. Generally he is known to one or more of the brethren, and his reputation can easily be established from other sources. In larger centres, one or more members of the committee, in addition to other work, will look up the applicant for a personal interview. On the accuracy of the report of committees on petitions, and on the fidelity with which they discharge their obligations depends the purity of the lodge and the character of its personnel. When you are appointed upon an investigation committee you may take it as a signal honour; that your Master has confidence in your good sense, your loyalty and your freedom from prejudices. He believes that you will faithfully discharge the most important Masonic Duty he can give you. Do you, therefore,
take the work seriously and do it faithfully? By all means see the applicant, unless you are completely satisfied from interviews with his friends, enemies, employers and associates as to exactly what kind of a man he is. Some member of the committee must see him or know him, of course; all members should, if possible. Never be satisfied merely because you find nothing against an applicant. Masonry wants positive not negative virtues. It is not enough that he hasn't been caught and jailed yet; he must be the kind the law doesn't want! It is not enough that he have no enemies; he should have friends, and many of them. But it is not necessary a point against a man that he has enemies; it is for you decide whether such enmity is justified by character and actions which would be prejudicial to the lodge were the candidate admitted. It is not only your right but your duty to inquire strictly into the reasons which lead an applicant to desire Masonry. There are many reasons; most of them good. Those which indicate that the applicant would not make a good Mason will occur at once to anyone. The petitioner who wants membership in order to promote his business is seeking something only for sordid reasons. The man who desires merely to satisfy his curiosity is not worthy of the knowledge he seeks. The applicant who hopes, through influential friends acquired in the lodge, to secure place and power would prostitute for selfish ends the institution he seeks to enter. Many men will be inarticulate as to why they want to become a Mason. Many others will have many reasons, all
combined, you'll be hardly be able to disentangle one from the other. Be sure that you dig deeply enough to understand the secret springs which move a man, for on the reasons why he wishes to become a member of our great Order will depend, in large measure, the sort of Mason he will be. Among the "Good" reasons for wishing to be a Mason are; a sincere desire to help others, a respect and veneration for a Fraternity which has been beloved by so many great and good men, a patriotism which would follow in the footsteps of Washington, a love for one's fellowmen, a desire to be with many friends in activities which they enjoy, a hunger to follow where a father, uncle or blood brother has gone; and a desire to secure the Moral and social welfare of his loved ones. But it is not a good reason if a man desires to join a lodge because he believes his family may be in want and he hopes the lodge will help. The older an applicant, the more closely his reasons should be investigated. A man of sixty who wants to be a Mason must explain why, so anyone can understand! This, because there are men past their three score and ten who hope the Fraternity will put them in one of their homes, or otherwise relieve them of the care of themselves! Such a reason, of course, is wholly unworthy and no such applicant would receive consideration at the hands of any intelligent committee. On the other hand, the older man who has "Waited for his Son" or who "Has only now been able gratify a long ambition," or who "Has come to believe that only in real Fraternity is there to be found the best in Friendship" ... these are to be admitted, if all else is 22
well, without regard to advanced age, so long as the statutory requirement is satisfied. Make your investigation alone, unaided, without reference to the other committeemen. Make your search promptly. It is not fair to the applicant or to the lodge to dilly-dally about it. If you can't serve, say so. If you do serve, serve well, serve whole-heartedly and promptly. You will be well paid. A "Master's Wages" await you when you shall have done your work. Paid not in any metal coin, or anything of material value; but in the finer coin of consciousness of honourable and responsible duty well done, the inner happiness which comes when you may truly say to yourself: "Masonry has been helped forward by my work," the knowledge that your lodge is a better lodge because you have paid back, in small measure at least, the interest and the labour your brethren invested in you. The committee on investigation, appointed for the purpose of giving to the lodge firsthand and Masonic knowledge of the character, abilities, attainments and general reputation of applicants for the degrees, is not the only, though it is the most important, committee work a Masons may have to do. Next to it in importance is the work of the committee sent out from the lodge to examine a visiting brother. Only Masons thoroughly familiar with lodge work should be asked to serve on examination committees, the duty of which is to ascertain if those who would visit your lodge are regular Masons in good standing. At least two brethren must compose such a committee, and of these, one is usually in charge; the other being merely a witness. 23
There is no law covering this; both may ask questions. Indeed, both must be fully satisfied before the visitor is brought into the lodge. Usually the first procedure is to examine the documents of the visitor. Formerly many lodges issued Grand Lodge Certificates which were held to be "Prima Facie" evidence that the possessor had been regularly initiated, passed and raised. The possession of such a certificate was held essential, before an examination could be conducted. Now, however, many lodges do not issue such certificates, contending themselves with a receipt for dues or a good standing card, or both. In few jurisdictions is a Mason refused admittance to a lodge because he does not possess a Grand Lodge Certificate. The good standing card, however, is usually considered essential. It is always wise to ask the visiting brother to sign his name and compare it with the signature written upon the good standing card. Having stateside themselves that the visitor is in good standing in his lodge the committee retires with the visitor to a private room for the examination. You are not to be non-plussed if the visitor here demands to see your credentials, or even to ask to look at the Charter of your lodge. He has the same right to be cautious that you have; the same right to assure himself that this is, indeed, a regular lodge, working under a Charter, as you have to assure yourselves that he is a regular Mason, not an imposter. It is required, not only that he take oath to the fact that he is a Mason, and that there is no reason known to him why he should not visit with his brethren, but that you, the committee, take the same oath. And this
should give you the keynote to the procedure of examination; it is not an inquisition in which the committee subjects the visitor to inquiry; it is a conference of brethren in which two groups satisfy each other of their mutual brotherhood. After the Tylerâ€™s oath, the committee may ask the visiting brother any question relative to Masonry which occurs to them. He has the same right to ask questions. If both parties exercised their right to the fullest extent and examination could take all evening! As a general practice, the visitor does not ask questions; presumably he has satisfied himself in other ways that his questioners are Masons and that the lodge he would visit is a regular lodge. This article was sourced from the Short Talk Bulletin December 1924 to which our grateful thanks go.
Did You Know? Q. What is the definition and origin of the Masonic term `Lewis', and what are his privileges, if any? A. Lewis: `An iron contrivance for raising heavy blocks of stone' (O.E.D.). Three metal parts (i.e., two wedge-shaped side pieces and a straight central piece), which are set into a prepared hole in a stone. When bolted into position the metal parts form a dovetail grip inside the stone, and a metal eye or shackle, attached at the exposed end, enables the block to be easily hoisted. The origin of the term `lewis' is obscure. It appears in mediaeval architectural usage as lowes and lowys, but several notable authorities have examined the possibility that our form is derived from the French word louve [= she-wolf] and louveteau [=
wolf-cub], both of which can be traced in French usage in 1611 and 1676, where they have the same architectural meaning as the English word `lewis'. It is perhaps more than a mere coincidence that the word louveteau appears in French Masonic usage, in the 1740s, to describe the son of a Mason, at about the same time as the English word `Lewis' acquires a similar significance. The above is a very brief summary of the points in question. For a more detailed study, see The Wilkinson MS. (pp. 40-45), by Knoop, Jones and Hamer, and The Freemasons' Guide and Compendium (pp. 414-419), by Bernard E. Jones. In Speculative Masonic usage, `A Lewis is the uninitiated son of a Mason' (Bd. of Gen. Purposes; Points of Procedure), and the word has had this meaning in the Craft since 1738, if not earlier. There is a fuller definition in an official directive, issued by the Grand Lodge (Enquiry Office) and it is also very explicit on the privileges of a Lewis: A Lewis is the uninitiated son of a Mason, irrespective of the date of his birth, i.e., it matters not whether he was born before or after his father became a Mason. A Lewis has no special privileges other than should there be more than one candidate on the day of his initiation he can claim to be the senior for the purpose of the ceremony. He cannot claim precedence over candidates proposed previously to himself and must take his place in the usual rotation on any waiting list of applicants that there may be. The above answer was given by W. Bro. Harry Carr, a former Secretary of Quatuor Coronati Lodge No. 2076.
Pillars of the Temple A Freemasonic View There were two pillars “at the porch or entrance of King Solomon’s Temple”. The Bible speaks of them in I Kings 7:21-22, II Chronicles 3:17, and Jeremiah 52:20-22. In Kings, “he set up the pillars at the porch of the Temple. He set up the right pillar and called its name Jachin (not pronounced Jarkin but Yachin); he set up the left pillar and called its name Boaz. On top of the pillars was lily work: so was the work of the pillars finished”. Jeremiah details the decorations on the pillars and says they were hollow. The pillars were free-standing without any practical purpose. Similarly, pillars provided a ceremonial entrance to other ancient buildings. Nor, despite claims to the contrary in Masonic writings, do the names Boaz and Jachin have any connection with Biblical personages, neither Boaz, the farmer ancestor of David, nor Jachin, a grandson of Jacob or another, later Jachin who was a minor priest: Masonic tradition notwithstanding, there is no evidence that he officiated at the consecration of the Temple. Both names are part of a larger inscription and probably refer to God, not to a human being. Since Boaz contains the word oz, “strength”, and Jachin is from a root meaning “to establish”, Boaz might indicate, “In His (God’s) strength shall the king rejoice” – a fragment of a royal hymn (cf. Psalm 44:9) – and Jachin, “God will establish the throne of David forever” (cf. I Kings 9:5). If, on the other hand, the names 25
refer to the Temple, they may be part of another now lost inscription, “God will establish the Temple and give it strength” (or “through it Israel will be strong”). It is unusual for parts of the Temple to have proper names, though elsewhere in the Bible we do find cairns or pillars with names, e.g. gal-ed, “heap of witness” (Gen. 31:17), mitzpah, “watchtower”(Gen. 31:49) and matzevet k’vurat Rachel, “pillar of Rachel’s grave”(Gen. 35:20). Freemasonry and various Jewish commentators attach an additional symbolism to the pillars, suggesting – amongst other possibilities – that they represent two trees of life, the pillars of cloud and fire that led the Israelites in the wilderness, two cherubim, or two mountains (Zion and Scopus) from which Divine judgment goes forth (Zech. 6:1). The fact that the pillars were cylindrical and hollow, leads Masonry to think that they were the receptacles of craft archives. The Cooke manuscript of 1410 says that the sons of Lemech gained knowledge of the sciences but feared that the information would be lost if they were killed, so they recorded their learning on pillars. Jewish sources also speak of sets of ancient pillars which recorded the knowledge of the stars, of the division of time, or of the letters of the alphabet. Josephus (Antiquities I:2) reports an ancient fear that the world would be destroyed by fire or water, and so it was necessary for the principles of human knowledge to be preserved for any civilisation that arose later, on two pillars, one of brick and one of stone. Many other cultures likewise recorded their traditions on obelisks. The idea of valuable information being
preserved in this way may be the origin of placing mementoes behind a foundation stone.
The Tyler’s Toast
From which direction did the spectator see Jachin on the right and Boaz on the left? The Jewish view is that it was from inside the building, looking out. Thus Jachin was in the south and Boaz the north. Though the craft places the Master in the east of the Lodge, the Holy of Holies of the Temple was in the west with the entrance to the building in the east. The Mishnah (Sukkah 5:4) explained that this was in order to prevent any suspicion that worshippers were facing and worshipping the sun in the east (Ezek. 8:16). Representations of the pillars are used widely in Masonic buildings and documents and the idea of the pillars has become a cherished part of Masonic allegory. An early 18th century statement says, “The ancient Fraternity of Free and Accepted Masons… hath inviolable kept those two essential and fundamental Pillars of all good Fellowship – TACITURNITY and CONCORD”. However, the ritual contains several other statements of Masonic principles, and they do not always come in twos. By Rt. Wor. Bro. Rabbi Dr Raymond Apple, AO RFD, Past Deputy Grand Master of the United Grand Lodge of New South Wales & the Australian Capital Territory. Click the name to go to his website.
Peace on Earth, and goodwill towards all men “God Bless Us, Every One!” Merry Christmas from the Editor
One of the more delightful and interesting of all Masonic Ceremonies is the Table Lodge, or the Festive Board. An almost essential part of such a gathering is the “Tyler’s Toast.” It is not a part of any Masonic ritual, but it is a charming part of the work that adds a little something to the overall ceremony. The form or wording may vary somewhat from jurisdiction to jurisdiction, nor is it always known as the Tyler’s Toast because it is not always proposed by the Tyler. In some cases it is known as “The Toast to Ancient Brethren.” Probably the most commonly used wording is this: “To All Poor and Distressed Masons, wherever they may be, dispersed over the face of the earth or on the water, here’s 26
wishing them a relief from their sufferings, and a happy return to their native land, should they so desire it.” To place a date on when this or a similar toast was introduced into the ancient ceremonies of the Craft is not easy as our ancient Brethren in the early Lodges lived closely by their obligations about committing any of their ceremonies to paper. “Silence and Circumspection” may be good for Masonic conduct, but they make for very poor history. Thus we can take only a few facts and accounts and from those make a few assumptions. The earliest (probably) recorded reference to this toast may be the one in Laurence Dermott’s Ahiman Rezon, published in 1756. The “Book of Constitutions” of those years usually contained many pages of Masonic Songs which the members probably engaged in singing after the Lodge was over. These were usually rather long and rambling and were frequently interrupted to propose a toast, or “drink the health of. . .,” various persons or groups. On page 148 began this song, and ended with this stanza: My Brethren, all take Glass in Hand, And toast our noble Master Grand, And in full chorus sing, And in &c., A Health to ancient Masons Free, Throughout the Globe, where-e’er they be, And so God save the King, And so God save the King. To all Ancient Masons, wheresoever dispers’d, or oppressed, round the Globe, &c. This custom of engaging in song after the Lodge was over is noted in many instances in the earliest days of the Craft. It is noted 27
that Dr. Desaguliers, after being installed the third Grand Master in 1719, “reviv’d the old regular and peculiar Toasts of Freemasonry.” They were not named although some of them are mentioned in Anderson’s “Constitutions of 1723” among the songs included in the book, some sixteen pages of such. The fact that Dermott used “&c.” in the toast cited above would seem to indicate that it was well known to all, so that the printing of the full form would not be necessary. In contrast, many of the toasts that were mentioned in this edition were printed in their entirety. The toast does not appear in Anderson’s Constitutions of 1738, so we might assume that it came into practical use between 1738 and 1756. Bernard E. Jones stated that the earlier form of this toast was: “To all charitable and distressed Masons dispersed over ....... So if we assume that this toast or health may have entered Masonic use about 1740 or 1750, we can look to that time as a period of expansion of Masonry in England. The Grand Lodge was only twenty or thirty years old and growing. England was expanding into Empire and deeply engaged in the wars on the continent and in America. Many of those who were engaged in these engagements were Masons. This is certain for we can note the many military lodges and colonial warrants issued which surely show a number of Brethren in foreign lands or in the Royal Navy. Surely the brethren at home would be apt to remember their Brethren “wheresoever scattered over the face of the Earth and on the Water....... To make this a custom,
almost a ritual, would be a natural outgrowth of this remembrance. At the same time we might also make note of the fact that the concluding words of this toast were sometimes modified by adding the words - “should they so desire and deserve it. “ The addition of those words “and deserve it” - would be a reflection of the conditions and times. There were many Englishmen impressed into service (shanghaiing is more like it) and undoubtedly many would be Masons. They would enjoy “a happy return to their native land” and surely would deserve it. There were others who were “transported” - a term used to describe the forced emigration of convicts, and surely they would not “deserve it.” This is not to put down all of those who were “transported” as many of those formed and became good members of lodges in the land to which they were transported - Solomon’s Lodge No. 1 of Savannah, being an example: others in Australia and other colonies. In a song included in William Preston’s “Illustrations of Masonry,” of 1776, there is a line which goes: “The absent we claim, tho’ dispers’d round the ball .... which places that toast as fourth among six healths given in that song. So placing it fourth does not mean that it should always be given last or just before closing. The American Lodge of Research, chartered under the Grand Lodge of New York, usually halts labour at nine o’clock (or as near to that hour as is convenient) so that all members may rise and give the Tyler’s Toast. In this case (ALR) the first mention in the Proceedings of this custom was April 25, 1933, “at 9:00 P.M. the Master announced the singing of the Tiler’s [sic] Toast.” On March 29, 1954, the Transactions state:
“At the traditional hour of 9 o’clock, the Tiler’s Toast to absent brethren was observed in silence.” In Massachusetts at the grand Feast (1972), this Toast was given by the Grand Master: G.M. - “To the Fraternity wheresoever dispersed upon the face of the earth. May Masons of all nations be united under the mantle of universal Friendship and Brotherhood for the benefit of all mankind.” Brethren: - To the Brethren wheresoever dispersed. In Western Australia, the Tyler’s Toast is listed as the fifth of the standard toasts that are given at the Festive Board. According to Mackey, in the French Lodges prior to 1872, there is this toast - To “The Health of all Masons wheresoever spread over the two hemispheres. As a matter of fact, this toast was not given by the Tyler in the early days of the Craft. Bernard E. Jones pointed out that in some early English Lodges it was given by the Senior Warden, and the Junior Warden then proposed a toast to “our next Meeting.” In some cases it has been noted that it is given by the Master. At the present time when the Tyler proposes this toast, it is usually last or just prior to closing. Otherwise it is given as one of the standard ceremonial toasts (usually seven, but this number will vary). The Lodge Service Committee of the Grand Lodge of Iowa in 1978, published a format for giving the Tyler’s Toast. It is presented here in full: The Tyler’s Toast: (Always given by the Tyler)
Then to our final toast tonight, our glasses freely drain, happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again. Dear Brethren of the 28
Mystic Tie, the night is waning fast. Our work is done, our feast is o’er, this toast must be our last. Good night to all, once more good night, again that farewell strain. Happy to meet, sorry to part, happy to meet again. To all poor and distressed Masons, wheresoever dispersed (over the face of the earth or water), a speedy relief to their suffering, and a safe return to their native land if they so desire. (Three knocks) With me, my brethren, To All Poor and Distressed Masons! (Drink and present arms as before, glasses down at the same instant as Tyler’s.) There is no response to the Tyler’s Toast.” Probably there would not be a complete story about the Tyler’s Toast if we did not mention that Rudyard Kipling, a Mason raised in India, used it as the subject or inspiration of his poem “The Widow at Windsor.” Without taking that whole story here is only the last stanza: Then ‘ere’s to the Son’s o’ the Widow. Wherever, ‘owever they roam. ‘Ere’s all they desire, an’ if they require, A speedy return to their ‘ome. (Poor beggars! - they’ll never see ‘ome!) A final note - there is no authority that has stated why it is called Tyler’s Toast. In fact, as noted above, there is no set rule that says it will be proposed by the Tyler. Even when it is referred to as the Tyler’s Toast in some jurisdictions that have regulations governing Table Lodges, it may be given by some officer other than the Tyler. It may just be that with the Tyler outside the door doing his duty, he was selected to give the Toast to the Absent Brethren because from his position he was almost as absent as they during the festivities. – So There! The Tyler’s Toast by Lewis J. Birt (New Jersey) was sourced from The Masonic Trowel
A Christmas Carol Perched up high on his wooden stool Brother Bob Cratchit was in a state, Said to himself “Oh, what a fool! Soon the Lodge opens, I shall be late” Looked at the books upon his desk, Many they were, the pile was huge, Thought, “Shall I leave it, and take the risk?” When in walked, Worshipful Brother Scrooge. ”Sorry you have all this work to do, Pity, tonight is the Christmas Fare; Only a Second, the meeting’s short, For dining and wining there’s time to spare!” Bob could scarcely believe his ears, ”Please, Brother Scrooge, let me go!” quoth he, Then he realised his greatest fears Then Scrooge shook his head deliberately. ”You cannot go ’til your work is through, But have no fear, I will put things right, I’ll make an apology for you The third time the Master rises tonight!” He turned to go, but in his way Stood the ghostly figure of one who had died, ”Brother Marley!” Bob heard Scrooge say, ”Hello Ebenezer!” the Wraith replied. ”What’s this I hear You are unkind. It’s no Brotherly thing to do To keep Bob here — pray bear in mind That he is a Brother like me and you! I’m glad I came down form The Lodge Above To see how at present, you spend your days! If I can instil some Brotherly Love In you, will you promise to mend your ways’?” Scrooge mumbled “Yes,” and, turning round To Brother Bob he said, “Come on, lad, For you and I, for our Lodge are bound, And the finest evening you’ve ever had, And, when the Lodge is closed with final Care, A hamper there’ll be for your family Full of good things and Yuletide Fare, In the name of Loving Charity!” They took that hamper when Lodge was closed Tiny Tim opened it up with glee. Saw the good things therein disposed: God Bless us, every one!” quoth he!
THE EMBLEMS OF FREEMASONRY The First Degree
Three Characteristics of Freemasons. Three outstanding characteristics of every Freemason - necessary if he would be true to the high ideals of the Fraternity - are Secrecy, Fidelity, and Obedience. The Charge delivered to the Entered Apprentice in the course of the First Degree emphasises the special qualities of each. Secrecy. Secrecy may be said to consist in a Freemason’s inviolable adherence to his obligations. The traditions of the Craft, coming down from a very remote age, are too sacred and too valuable to become the topic of every vain babbler. They have been preserved as relics from the past, and should be entrusted to the worthy and to the worthy alone. The faithful Brother must never, therefore, reveal the secrets of the art improperly, and must cautiously shun all occasions which might inadvertently lead him so to do. Fidelity. The Fidelity of the Freemason must be exemplified by a strict observance of the Constitutions of the Fraternity; by adherence to the ancient landmarks of the Order ; by never attempting to extort, or otherwise unduly obtain the secrets of a superior degree ; and by refraining from recommending any one to a participation in the secrets of Freemasonry, unless there is strong grounds to believe that, by a similar fidelity, the person recommended will ultimately prove himself worthy of a Mason’s confidence. Obedience. Obedience demands close conformity to laws and regulations, prompt attention to all signs and summonses, modest and correct demeanour in the Lodge, abstinence from every topic of religious or political discussion calculated to cause discord, ready acquiescence in all votes and resolutions duly passed by the Brethren, and perfect submission to the R.W.M. and his Wardens while they are discharging the duties of their respective offices.
This monthly feature is taken from William Harvey’s book, “The Emblems of Freemasonry” 1918.
Until next month, Keep the faith! The Editor. 30
Published on Nov 28, 2016